In collaboration with patients, CAMH conducted a patient engagement initiative whereby patients were interviewed by a peer support worker in order to understand their preferences for methods of identification prior to, and during medication administration. As a result of this engagement, CAMH implemented alternative methods of patient identification to provide choice to patients – including a wristband, current photo, or existing government issued photo identification (health card, drivers’ license), all associated with a patient specific barcode. Patients and staff developed educational resources which included informational brochures and posters based on the patient engagement efforts to help patients understand the importance and impact of patient identification during care delivery. Brochures are now available in six languages, and posters are displayed in pertinent locations throughout inpatient units. The partnership with patients has contributed greatly to CAMH’s ability to achieve and sustain improved scanning rates. Additional information about this work can be found in an article published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics.1

This patient engagement initiative has greatly contributed to CAMH’s ability to achieve and sustain medication administration scanning rates more than 95% of the time since December 2016. Monthly patient barcode scanning errors related to improper patient identification prior to intervention averaged 483 incidents, while after implementation CAMH has reached an average of 954 patient identification errors.  Staff-reported medication errors decreased from 36 to 12 when comparing 6 months before and after interventions implemented to increase scanning rates, inclusive of this patient engagement initiative. The increase in monthly patient identification errors represents potential medication errors prevented as a result of increased scanning rates.


  1. Strudwick, G., Clark, C., McBride, B., Sakal, M., Kalia, K. (2017). Thank you for asking: Exploring patient perceptions of barcode medication administration identification practices in inpatient mental health settings. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 105, 31-37.

← Back to Search Results

Leading Practices are submitted by health organizations from around the world. The contents of the Leading Practices library do not reflect opinions or views of HSO or its affiliates. If you have questions, concerns or suggestions please email us at